London, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz had a historic audience on Tuesday with Pope Benedict XVI on the first official visit to the Holy See by a Saudi monarch.
According to an Associate Press report, Benedict warmly greeted King Abdullah, grasping both his hands before heading into 30 minutes of private talks in his library.
The Vatican said King Abdullah had requested the audience during his European tour. He had visited the Vatican twice before, as crown prince and deputy prime minister.
At the end of the meeting, Abdullah presented Benedict with a traditional Middle Eastern gift _ a golden sword studded with jewels _ as well as a gold and silver statue of a palm tree and man riding a camel.
The Vatican has said it wants to pursue a dialogue with moderate Muslims.